Governor signs roads bill

Published 9:56 pm Monday, April 18, 2011

Governor Bob McDonnell on Monday signed transportation investment legislation that will fund 900 projects across the Commonwealth. Workers at the construction site surround Andrew Curtis, Manager of Curtis Contracting, Inc., center from left; Virginia Curtis, President of Curtis Contracting, Inc. and Governor McDonnell.

Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday signed legislation that advances the construction of a new Route 460 between Suffolk and Petersburg.

The bill funds nearly $4 billion in road and rail projects during the next three years, including the reconstruction of one of the most vital routes out of Hampton Roads during a hurricane evacuation.

“It has been over 20 years since we have made a major investment in our transportation system,” McDonnell said. “For far too long, Virginians sat stuck in traffic while partisan politics put the brakes on progress. This year we put partisanship aside and recognized that for Virginia to retain its status as the friendliest state in the nation for business, we must invest in transportation and help the private sector create much-needed jobs in all parts of the commonwealth.”

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Cintra Infraestructuras S.A.U., 460 Partners Inc. and Multimodal Solutions submitted conceptual proposals to the Virginia Department of Transportation solicitation seeking private partners with new ideas and innovative financing methods to advance the project.

The three companies estimate the new highway would cost $1.44 billion to $1.8 billion to build and would require tolls from $5.50 to $11 for cars. Detailed proposals for the project are due from the three companies in August.

McDonnell says the 900 transportation projects will be funded with no tax increase, instead using a variety of bonds and the new Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank. The bank, funded with $283 million from the fiscal year 2010 surplus and savings from a VDOT performance audit, will be able to make grants and low-interest loans to localities, transportation authorities and private-sector partners working on transportation projects. The administration aims to put $1 billion into the bank during the next three years.

Other area projects funded by the legislation include a public-private project to construct a new Midtown Tunnel between Norfolk and Portsmouth; widening Dominion Boulevard in Chesapeake; and making major interchange improvements on Interstate 64.